Staff recommends approval of the amendments to Section 9-9 and 9-3 of the Code of Ordinances.
The Commission expressed concern over the length of time between qualifying to run for a Commission seat and the November election. They requested staff to research the possibility of changing the qualifying dates closer to the election.
I contacted Supervisor of Elections Emogene Stegall and she advised she must have the names for the November ballot at least one week prior to the primary election. Based on this information, City Attorney Morrison prepared an ordinance to give me a two week timeframe to have the qualifying time based on future election dates. The qualifying timeframe will still begin at NOON Monday and end at NOON Friday.
In 2012, The Republican Party will hold the National Convention in Tampa, Florida, during the regular primary election week. The primary election will be held Tuesday, August 14, 2012. Therefore, Leesburg’s qualifying time in 2012 will be in July. When the primary election returns to the last Tuesday in August, Leesburg’s qualifying period to run for a Commission seat will be in August.
The second change to Chapter 9, Section 9-3, of the Code of Ordinances is to clarify evidence required to demonstrate potential candidates are bona fide, permanent residents within the municipal limits of the City of Leesburg and, if applicable, within the proper City Commission District, and they were permanent residents of the City (and the District if applicable) for the period of time required by the City Charter to qualify as a candidate.
The ordinance lists five different items potential candidates may use as evidence they are bona fide, permanent residents at the time of qualifying. The City Clerk will determine whether or not the evidence of residency is sufficient. The ordinance provides an appeal process to the prospective candidate if the City Clerk deems the evidence of residency insufficient. The prospective candidate may appeal to a committee for review and the committee’s decision shall be final.
For the August 22, 2011 meeting - Per Commission instruction: City Attorney Morrison amended the proposed ordinance to require two acceptable types of evidence that candidates are bona fide residents of Leesburg, Florida.
1. Approve the Ordinance changing Section 9-3 and 9-9; or
2. Such alternative action as the Commission may deem appropriate
Prepared by: ______________________
Attachments: Yes____ No ______
Advertised: ____Not Required ______
Attorney Review : Yes___ No ____
Reviewed by: Dept. Head ________
Finance Dept. __________________
Deputy C.M. ___________________
City Manager ___________________
Account No. _________________
Project No. ___________________
WF No. ______________________
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF LEESBURG, FLORIDA, AMENDING SECTIONS 9 – 3 AND 9 – 9 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES PERTAINING TO ELECTIONS; SPECIFYING TYPES OF EVIDENCE TO BE SUBMITTED BY CANDIDATES AT THE TIME OF QUALIFYING TO DEMONSTRATE APPROPRIATE RESIDENCY; CHANGING THE TIME FOR CANDIDATES FOR CITY COMMISSION TO QUALIFY TO RUN FOR THAT POSITION; REPEALING CONFLICTING ORDINANCES; PROVIDING A SAVINGS CLAUSE; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF LEESBURG, FLORIDA:
§9 – 3 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Leesburg, Florida, is hereby amended to read as set forth below:
(a) All candidates for city commission shall reside within the municipal limits of the City of Leesburg, Florida. In addition, the following requirements shall apply for each seat:
(1) Candidates for Seat 1 each must reside within Commission District One.
(2) Candidates for Seat 2 each must reside within Commission District Two.
(3) Candidates for Seat 3 each must reside within Commission District Three.
(4) Candidates for Seat 4 and Seat 5 may reside anywhere within the municipal limits.
(b) As used in this section, the terms “reside” and “residency” refer to a candidate’s or commissioner’s bona-fide, permanent place of abode.
(c) All persons seeking to qualify to run for a seat on the City Commission shall submit evidence demonstrating that they are in fact bona fide, permanent residents within the municipal limits of the City of Leesburg and, if applicable, within the proper City Commission District, and that they were permanent residents of the City (and the District if applicable) for the period of time required by the City Charter to qualify as a candidate. Among the evidence which will be acceptable to establish residency, at least two of the following items must be submitted:
(1) A valid Florida driver’s license or state – issued identification card, showing the address of the prospective candidate as being within the City limits and the appropriate District if applicable;
(2) A City of Leesburg utility bill in the name of the prospective candidate, showing that the prospective candidate is currently receiving utility service at a location which would comply with the requirements of this Section;
(3) A valid Florida voter registration card demonstrating that the candidate resides within the City limits and the appropriate District if applicable;
(4) A valid United States passport bearing an address demonstrating that the candidate resides within the City limits and the appropriate District if applicable;
(5) An ad valorem tax bill for the most recent tax year, for a location within the City limits and the appropriate District, in the name of the prospective candidate or in the joint names of the prospective candidate and his or her spouse, which indicates the property has been granted the homestead tax exemption for the most recent tax year;
(6) A prospective candidate shall not be required to produce every item listed in this Section as proof of residency, so long as at least two are submitted and those, together with other evidence of residency presented, is deemed sufficient by the City Clerk to be reasonable proof of proper residency. In addition, the list of items in this Section is not conclusive and a prospective candidate may submit other evidence as proof of residency so long as the City Clerk deems the totality of the evidence to be sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the residency requirements of this Section.
(7) If the City Clerk deems the evidence of residency presented to be insufficient, the prospective candidate may appeal that determination to a committee composed of the City Manager, the City Finance Director, and the City Attorney. This committee shall review the evidence presented and issue a determination on the sufficiency of the evidence to prove compliance with the residency requirements by the prospective candidate, and the determination of this committee on the issue shall be final.
§9 – 9 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Leesburg, Florida, is amended to read as set forth below:
All certificates of nomination, petitions or personal declarations of nomination of candidates for office shall be filed with the City Clerk. All certificates of nomination, petitions or personal declarations of nomination of candidates for office, along with the required proof of residency and other documentation required by this Code or the Laws of Florida, shall be filed with the City Clerk no earlier than the Monday which is at least four weeks prior to the date of the statewide primary election, and no later than the second Friday after such Monday. All applications and documents must be filed, fully completed, by no later than 4:00 p.m. on the last day of the qualifying period. The City Clerk shall transmit the names of those persons qualified as candidates to the Supervisor of Elections, by the deadline set for this transmittal by the Supervisor of Elections.
All ordinances or part of ordinances which are in conflict with this Ordinance are hereby repealed, to the extent necessary to alleviate the conflict, but shall continue in effect insofar as they are not in conflict herewith, unless repeal of the conflicting portion destroys the overall intent and effect of any of the conflicting ordinance, in which case those ordinances so affected shall be hereby repealed in their entirety.
If any portion of this Ordinance is declared invalid or unenforceable, and to the extent that it is possible to do so without destroying the overall intent and effect of this Ordinance, the portion deemed invalid or unenforceable shall be severed herefrom and the remainder of the ordinance shall continue in full force and effect as if it were enacted without including the portion found to be invalid or unenforceable.
This Ordinance shall become effective upon its passage and adoption according to law.
PASSED AND ADOPTED at the regular meeting of the City Commission of the City of Leesburg, Florida, held on the day of , 2010.
THE CITY OF LEESBURG, FLORIDA